Itching in Cats: Everything You Need to Know

Itching in cats can manifest itself in many ways. They can tear with their paws or in other ways try to get to the places they want to itch. Cats are effective at licking fur with their rough tongue.

Many cats go away and hide when they itch, which means that it can be difficult for the pet owner to perceive how extensive the itching really is. It is a misconception that the cat normally scratches.

Cats that scratch themselves should be examined and examined by a veterinarian to reduce the risk of unnecessary suffering. The earlier the cat is diagnosed and treated, the less risk of developing chronic and difficult-to-treat skin conditions.


The most common causes of itching are external parasites, such as lice, fleas, dandruff or ear infections, skin infections with bacteria or fungi and allergies. The first thing the veterinarian investigates is parasitic diseases, partly because it is common, and partly because they are usually easy to treat.

Treatment at the vet

Parasites can be detected by scratch tests, tape tests or combing tests from the fur. Bacterial or fungal infections can be detected partly via cytology tests, which means that the veterinarian takes samples from the skin changes and looks at cells under a microscope, partly through cultures. Cultivation response takes a few days for bacterial cultures and up to several weeks for fungal cultures. Prior to that, cytology is often indicative.

If the veterinarian has ruled out parasites or infections as the cause of the itching, allergies remain as the next step in the investigation. Allergies have itching as a main symptom and it is a lifelong disease that it is important that the animal gets help with.

What can you do yourself?

You can find lice, fleas or dandruff mites yourself with a magnifying glass. The other most common parasites live deeper in the skin and to detect these requires a microscope. Pet owners can try over-the-counter preparations for the treatment of certain parasites, but in most cases it is best to see a veterinarian if the animal has itching.

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